Stories From the Heart | Apr - May 2022

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The life-changing care Ascension Sacred Heart provides has touched the hearts of many who strive to ensure that this incredible mission of care continues for future generations. Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation is proud to be a partner in this endeavor. Please enjoy these ”Stories from the Heart.”




Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation is pleased to announce that Katie Mitchell has been chosen as our 2022 Children’s Miracle Network® (CMN) Champion, advocating for member hospital Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. CMN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and community support for 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America. Each year, CMN hospitals are invited to submit the story of a child who has been treated in their facility. This child will serve as a CMN ambassador and face of the hospital for partner campaigns and various events that generate donations. One hundred percent of the donations stay in our local area to support pediatric treatments and healthcare services, medical equipment and philanthropic care.

Katie Mitchell

There, Katie was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where an oncologist confirmed the

As Champion, Katie’s role will be to raise awareness of pediatric cancer and campaign for the charitable needs of kids treated at Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. Herself a cancer survivor, Katie is committed to encouraging the financial support needed to ensure that all children, regardless of their parent’s ability to pay, receive the same miraculous care with which she was blessed.

HEARTKatie Mitchell to Serve as Children’s Miracle ChampionNetwork®

Katie’s journey began in 2013 when she was taken to a hospital closest to her home after exhibiting troubling signs of illness and then fainting. The emergency room doctor entered with her blood work results and a troubled look on his face. He said, “I am so glad you guys came in here. Your daughter is in need of a blood transfusion. We need to transfer her to Studer Family Children’s Hospital.”

The Children’s Hospital has long been affiliated with the nonprofit organization Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), which helps raise funds and community support for some 170 kids hospitals. Annually, member hospitals are invited to nominate a child who was treated in their facility as the CMN Champion of the Year. Katie Mitchell was chosen as our champion, and her story details a long and miraculous journey to become cancer free.

CMN also offers a variety of programs throughout the year that encourage people to connect with and help sustain the Children’s Hospital. Current programs include the University of West Florida Dance Marathon, Extra Life and Radiothon.

On April 22, Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation once again launches the fabulous Emerald Ball at the Hilton Sandestin, featuring dinner, live music and dancing. Proceeds from this black-tie event will benefit the acquisition of a state-of-the-art CT scanner for pediatric and adult patients at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast. Likewise, proceeds from the 2021 Charity Golf Classic were earmarked for this muchneeded scanner. Check out the full page of photos from the Golf Classic featured in this edition of “Stories from the Heart.”

Following a month of inpatient chemotherapy, Katie went into remission and was able to return home. But six months later, she was back at the Studer Family Children’s Hospital when her liver shut down due to one of the chemotherapies.

diagnosis of cancer. The family was shocked to learn she would require two and a half years of treatment.

Her mother Jamie describes the experience the family underwent during Katie’s battle as “eye-opening now that we have gone through it and have seen what childhood cancer really is. I thought you got some chemo, lost your hair and you were good to go.” She feels that most people lack awareness, mostly because it is a subject that no one wants to talk about.

Carol President,CarlanAscension Sacred Heart Foundation



Children and their needs are front and center in this edition of “Stories from the Heart.”

Katie’s brother Ryan was emotionally affected as well. When he was in first grade, his class had a project about the growth of flowers. Each student was asked, “What makes you bloom and what makes you wilt?” Ryan answered, “I wilt when Katie is in the hospital. I bloom when Katie gets better.” Other kids wrote, “I bloom when I get a PlayStation. I wilt when I have to pick up my Throughoutroom.”Katie’s inpatient stay, the family continued to be grateful that treatment was available

When the Bear Family Foundation Pediatric Oncology Center for Hope opened at the Studer Family Children’s Hospital, highly specialized cancer care for the young became available in our region. One of our stories tells what local access to this world-class care has meant to one child: leukemia patient Chase Dang and his grateful family.

locally and amazed at the depth of compassionate care given to their daughter. The doctors would explain the treatment and prepare the family for side effects. The nurses, who went above and beyond to spend time with Katie, would even play “tea party” with their tiny patient. “They were there late at night and really took care of us. They became family,” Jamie says. “I credit Sacred Heart with saving Katie’s life.”

We are so grateful for all the support you provide to those we serve!

A variety of national corporations give to the Children’s Miracle Network; in turn, their local businesses become CMN Hospital Partners, dedicated to generating donations in the community, often one dollar at a time. Ace Hardware, CEFCO, Credit Union for Kids, Dairy Queen, Direct Energy, IHOP, Kiwanis International, Log A Load, Love’s Travel Stops, Panda Express, Publix, RE/MAX, Sam’s Club, United Network of America and Walmart serve as Studer Family Children’s Hospital partners.

Today, Katie is cancer-free. She still struggles with what she went through physically and mentally; the past few years were marked by nightmares and a fear of recurrence. But, with a most difficult journey behind her, she is celebrating life. At the age of 10, she is in the fifth grade and her days are filled with the enjoyment of singing, dancing and playing soccer. Her immediate future also will include activities as a CMN Champion, helping to raise funds for the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart.

The years of treatment also had a huge impact on the entire family. There was sadness, fear and lots of tears. The effect on Katie’s little body was scary and severe. She lost half her weight, her ability to walk and her voice; at times, she literally looked like a Jamieskeleton.feltshe had done something to cause her daughter’s illness, that she had somehow been irresponsible. But after talking with other parents, she learned that her feelings of guilt were a common reaction.

Many blessings,

Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation extends its gratitude to these partner corporations, associates and customers for their support.

Many thanks to our incredible sponsors, players, donors and volunteers for a successful 19th Annual Charity Golf Classic. The day resulted in net revenue of $173,000 with all proceeds supporting the purchase of a cuttingedge CT scanner for Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast.



from the HEART

GIVESACREDHEART.ORG | ASCENSION SACRED HEART FOUNDATION 5 DINNER • LIVE MUSIC • DANCING APRIL 30, 2022 at 6:00 PM HILTON SANDESTIN Benefiting the acquisition of a state-of-the-art CT scanner for pediatric and adult patients at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast For more Lisa.Wainwright@ascension.orgSacredHeartEmeraldBall.cominformation:

When blood work detected an extremely high white blood count, Chase was referred to the Studer Family Children’s Hospital Pediatric ER for further workup. He was quickly admitted to the pediatric ICU. It was then that Oanh received news that no parent is ever prepared to hear: Chase had acute myeloid leukemia, a condition where white blood cells turn cancerous and don’t work as they should.

the chance to talk to other moms who are on a similar journey.

Chase has undergone two bone marrow transplants, with the latest taking place in April. While Chase relapsed 70 days after recovering new blood cells, Oanh and her family are taking it day by day and continue to stay positive. “Chase started hospital homebound school this year, which keeps him busy.”

For more information on pediatric cancer care, visit oncology/florida/

with big changes, sometimes it’s the little things that bring the most comfort. Last year, Studer Family Children’s Hospital opened the Bear Family Foundation Pediatric Oncology Center for Hope. With a play area, family room and movie room, it was designed to give kids the space they need to be kids. Oanh said the pediatric oncology unit meant Chase could see his siblings and connect with other kids like him. It was also the first time Oanh had

Small Details Make a Big Difference

Two years ago, Oanh Dang took her son Chase to the pediatrician’s office because she was concerned that her 3-year-old wasn’t acting like a typical toddler. He was tired all the time and his skin was pale.

“I was in such shock that the diagnosis didn’t register at the time,” Oanh said. “Everything happened so fast that I didn’t have time to sort out my feelings.”

Oanh is grateful for the Child Life staff who always remember the small details that make hospital admissions more home-like. “Chase doesn’t like hospital sheets, so when he is admitted for treatment, a special set of sheets is already on his bed.”

A couple of days later, Chase underwent surgery to place a central venous line that



would provide a more comfortable way to deliver chemotherapy. During Chase’s twoyear journey with leukemia, he has received care locally and away from home.

“It’s absolutely amazing to have a children’s hospital close to home because I can lean on my family for support,” Oanh said. The times she’s been away from home, she said it’s been exhausting to have it all rest on your Whenshoulders.lifeisfilled

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